Thursday 29 July 2010

Americana Festival at The Sage: Part 3

Americana Festival
The Sage

A Pictorial Report
Part 3 (of 3)

Saturday night's finale brought something very special; Rosanne Cash was in town, ready for her one and only UK date of 2010.

My full review for this show is scheduled to appear in a well known music magazine (details to follow), so here's a few photos and brief impressions for now...

Martin Simpson provided the support, giving us half an hour of exemplary guitar and folk ballads. He's a class act, with a full tour schedule of his own. Go to his website for full details:

Rosanne Cash and her five-piece band took to the stage shortly afterwards, blazing straight into a great version of 'Moving On'.

Songs from Rosanne's smash hit album 'The List' were well to the fore throughout the show.

Having lined up to say 'Goodnight' was never going to end the evening. We wanted more - and we got it!

Rosanne was clearly enjoying the evening just as much as we were as she danced her way to the end of the show.

It was a really great finish to a wonderful day at The Sage. I have no idea how they are going to top such a brilliant event in 2011, but I'll be there to find out.

Meanwhile, for more on Rosanne Cash (including details of her forthcoming book) pop along to:

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Americana Festival at The Sage: Part 2

Americana Festival
The Sage

A Pictorial Report
Part 2

The Toy Hearts have been a favourite of mine for some time. Initially I thought I'd have to miss their spot on the 'Jumpin' Hot Stage' as the timings appeared to clash with the shows I'd booked in Hall 2. I was therefore very pleasantly surprised to find that the earlier listings had been inaccurate and that everything was going to work out just fine.

The Toy Hearts have two excellent CDs available which you really should add to your collection, namely 'If The Blues Come Calling' and 'When I Cut Loose'.

Their music is a combination of country, bluegrass and Western swing, played with great energy.

Stewart Johnson - banjo and Dobro...and Father of...

...Hannah Johnson (mandolin and lead vocals)
and Sophia Johnson (guitar and harmony vocals)

They know how to put on a show and entertain the audience.

They played a storming set which was, for me, easily the best of the day on the 'Jumpin' Hot Stage'.

Meeting the band

Great news - the new CD, 'Femme Fatale', now has a release date. Mark 18 October on your calendars!

For more on this great band, head for:

Expect more posts about The Toy Hearts here at Marsh Towers in the near future.

Meanwhile, I've added a page to this site to provide an index to all of my concert reviews and photos:

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Americana Festival at The Sage: Part 1

Americana Festival
The Sage

A Pictorial Report
Part 1

Has a year really gone by since the last Americana Festival?
It certainly has!

I've been looking forward to this year's event for some time. It was certainly well attended, with the outside area quickly becoming a sea of people all enjoying six and half hours of free music on the 'Jumpin' Hot Stage'.

I'd booked myself in for three consecutive shows in the intimate surroundings of Hall 2. The first of these brought Rachel Harrington and Rod Clements to the stage.

I thought they provided the best set of the three shows. Their voices harmonised well and the guitar interplay was admirable. Highlights included 'Sunshine Girl' and 'Up The River'.

Rachel took a short break from vocal duty and Rod, founder member of Lindisfarne, sang his top 5 hit, 'Meet Me On The Corner'.

Rachel and Rod are currently touring the UK. Catch them while you can!

For tour dates and further information, see:

Next up was Dayna Kurtz. Solo and switching between guitar and banjo, her style was more intense, with deep songs and a very powerful voice.

For more on Dayna, see here:

Before the next act in Hall 2, I just had time to pop out for an early taste of the 'Jumpin' Hot Stage'.

I caught the last bit the set by The Hi and Lo. I didn't see enough to absorb their style but I know the lat song was dedicated to a pet dog who was run over.

For more on The Hi and Lo, go to:

Then it was quickly back to Hall 2 for Elizabeth Cook, who was partly showcasing material from her new CD, 'Welder'.

Elizabeth was accompanied by Bones Hillman (upright bass) and Tim Carroll (guitar). Tim took a turn on vocals and Elizabeth replaced her cowboy boots with tap shoes and danced away as he sang. This was the most uplifting set of the three.

For more details, go to:

With my indoor activity over for the afternoon, it was time to head for the 'Jumpin' Hot Stage' again.

The Handsome Family, Rennie and Brett Sparks, are definitely alt-country. Their songs focus on the macabre, mysterious and downright odd aspects of the world.

We heard songs about milk...


...and even a love song from the point of view of a puddle.

For further information, pop along to:

The Holmes Brothers concluded the day's outdoor action, blasting off with a heavy version of 'Amazing Grace' before really letting rip.

Solomon Holmes was on bass and vocals.

Wendell Holmes played guitar, keyboard and took his turn on vocals too.

Popsy Dixon - not really a brother in the sense we normally use, but definitely a Holmes Brother - pounded the drums will great force, in contrast to his unusual falsetto voice.

For more on The Holmes Brothers and their 30+ year career, see:

Parts 2 and 3 of this series of reports will follow over the next couple of days, so stay tuned...